The primary function of the Professional Standards Unit is the receipt and assignment of complaints received from citizens regarding the actions of New Castle County Police officers. Complaints received by this unit, are normally investigated by two supervisory investigators with the oversight of a Captain, who reports directly to the Chief and Deputy Chief of Police. The findings from the investigations are reported back to the complaining citizen and the accused officer(s).
The Professional Standards Unit is also responsible for tracking all disciplinary matters and complaints against Division of Police personnel. An annual summary of all citizen complaints and internal administrative investigations is available through the Professional Standards Unit.
The goal of the Professional Standards Unit is to protect the public, the officer and the division through fair, thorough and proactive investigations of alleged misconduct. This goal is intended to accomplish three objectives:
PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC by identifying and effecting corrective action of police division personnel and changing procedures that negatively affect the quality of life in the areas that we service.
PROTECTION OF THE DIVISION by taking appropriate action so that misconduct of a few will not detract from the overall reputation of the New Castle County Division of Police.
PROTECTION OF THE OFFICER against false or malicious allegations of misconduct by ensuring fairness and accuracy in all investigations.
While all allegations of misconduct are considered important to the division, the Professional Standards Unit investigates allegations of misconduct that generally carry more serious consequences for the officer, the division, or community confidence in the police. Complaints with less serious consequences may remain with the officer’s immediate supervisor to investigate.
It is the policy of the Police Division to accept and investigate all complaints or allegations of misconduct on the part of any employee. In doing so, the division will endeavor to be fair to both the complainant and the employees involved.
Any complaints concerning the conduct of a divisional employee may be filed with the Professional Standards Unit. Upon review, a determination is made as to whether the complaint would be more appropriately investigated by the Professional Standards Unit or the employee’s supervisor. The complaint form can be used to file complaints against any Division of Police employee, which can be submitted by email or by mail to:
Professional Standards Unit
New Castle County Police
3601 N. Dupont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
The Professional Standards Unit may also be contacted by calling 302-395-8008.
Once your complaint has been received, it will be investigated according to appropriate procedures and you will be notified of the results. The Division of Police encourages the filing of legitimate complaints as a means to hold the division and its employees accountable to the public.
What can I expect when speaking with a Professional Standards Unit investigator?
The Professional Standards Unit investigators are essential to preserving the public’s trust and confidence by conducting thorough and impartial investigations of alleged officer misconduct. Investigators are expected to maintain respectful dialogue, objectivity, yet ask detailed and probing questions in order to fully understand the true facts surrounding the event in question,
Professional Standards Unit investigators and other supervisors make every effort to record the statements of all parties involved and interviewed. The value in this process is that these statements become part of the record that an officer’s supervision reviews before deciding a case disposition.
Once the investigation is complete, one of four possible findings is made.
1. Sustained. The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to prove the allegations made in the complaint.
2. Not Sustained. The investigation failed to disclose sufficient evidence to prove the allegations made in the complaint.
3. Exonerated. The acts which provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the investigation revealed they were justified, lawful, and proper.
4. Unfounded. The investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts alleged did not occur.
When a complaint against an officer is sustained, discipline for infractions can occur in the following manner:
a). Training and/or counseling
c). Suspension from duty without pay
d). Termination from the Division
e). Criminal Prosecution
The complainant will be notified of the disposition or conclusion of the case. The details pertaining to the investigation and related discipline will not provided to the complainant. Under Delaware Law, Title 11 Chapter 92; Law-Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, restricts the release of personnel information relating to suspensions and other disciplinary actions of a police officer.
Although we encourage citizens to report police misconduct, complaints must be made in good faith. False or highly exaggerated complaints serve no good purpose for either the citizens or the officer and only tend to thwart our complaint-taking process. Anyone who willfully makes any false accusation for the purpose of discrediting a police officer may be prosecuted.